Autoimmune conditions may contribute to the progression of arteriosclerosis. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Atherosclerosis in autoimmune rheumatic diseases-mechanisms and clinical findings.
Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2009 Aug;37(1):20-8. PMID: 18991025
Atherosclerosis is one of the major entities leading to morbidity and mortality in the western world. It is known now that atherosclerosis cannot be explained merely by the presence of the Framingham traditional risk factors and that autoimmunity takes a significant role in its pathogenesis. It is also known that individuals with autoimmune diseases demonstrate increased incidence of cardiovascular manifestations and subclinical atherosclerotic disease. The mechanisms for the assumed accelerated atherosclerosis in diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, antiphospholipid syndrome, and systemic sclerosis include the classical risk factors, but may also be due to chronic inflammatory processes and immune dysregulation. Autoantibodies, autoantigens, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and infectious agents play a role in that process. Involvement of autoimmunity in the pathogenesis of accelerated atherosclerosis in rheumatic diseases and the common pathway that leads to this condition may lead to significant change in prevention of treatment.